Judge Rejects Settlement for Ground Zero Workers

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Photo: Detective Greg Semendinger/NYC Police Aviation Unit via ABC News

A federal judge shot down a settlement offered by the city to Ground Zero workers yesterday, saying it wasn't fair to the firefighters, police officers, and emergency workers who were sickened after working at the World Trade Center. The settlement, which would have given the victims somewhere between $575 million and $675.5 million, simply wasn't enough, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said.

Hellerstein also expressed concern over the amount of the settlement — about a third of it — that would eventually go to lawyers and how complicated the terms were. Hellerstein's impassioned decision, in which he described the workers as "our heroes," is making him into a bit of a hero himself among those workers, who are praising him as "compassionate" and "brave."

Federal Judge Orders More Talks on 9/11 Deal [NYT]